Covid-19: Message from the Co-Presidents of the Club of Rome

18 March 2020 – Dear CoR Friends & Colleagues,

We want to take this opportunity to reach out to all of you and share a message which expresses our sentiments at the Club of Rome regarding the learnings from this tragic Corona pandemic and the need to work even closer together in solidarity.

We are acutely aware that many of you are caught up in the disruptive impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and would like to reach out to each of you to reassure you that tough as matters are, human resilience will see us through this. That said we hope you are all safe and healthy.

We have been plunged into an extraordinary crisis of global proportions. It is for times such as these that leaders are called upon to rise to the challenge of turning adversity into an opportunity to find new pathways to emerge from it much wiser.

The crisis presented by the Covid-19 viral pandemic is an opportunity for all of us to rise to the challenge of thought leadership and be a catalyst for humanity to work together to find pathways to “Emerge from this Emergency” having abandoned traditional blind spots to learn critically important lessons. This was of course the main message of our Planetary Emergency Plan and we believe remains the core call from all of us today.

First, we need to acknowledge that our collective failures as humanity to live within planetary boundaries and to respect the wisdom of our ancient ancestors, scientists and health experts about taboos that protected humanity against the risks of pathogens that cross-species, has brought us unprecedented disruptive diseases.

Second, we need to focus on actions that promote the common good so we can transcend the current crisis together and re-establish our connectedness and interdependence as humanity. We need to ask ourselves and the rest of humanity tough questions about how long we can afford to sustain the consumption focussed economic and financial systems that have brought us into the very crisis we find ourselves in? How long are we to continue to tolerate the measurement of progress and prosperity in terms of GDP growth regardless of the inequities suffered by many who are left behind?

Third, we believe this is the time to accelerate the exploration of new ways of being human in a manner that respects the limitations of our planetary boundaries so we can emerge from this crisis with a New Civilization. Such a civilization should be characterized by 21st century Economic and Financial systems that are driven by the imperatives of the well-being of people and planet.

Due to the greater need for solidarity and the translation of our thought leadership into recommendations to government and communities on how we can emerge from emergency, we must even more than ever work together to ensure that our governments heed our calls for deep systems change so as to avert a multitude of continued disasters such as this.

We now have a dedicated network of partners working together on the Planetary Emergency Plan we launched last September in New York to ensure political buy in and proper outreach. Together we are convinced we can truly optimise our calls for change by being united in a joint narrative.

We know that global leaders are under pressure to save people’s livelihoods and the economy due to the impacts of COVID19. This is absolutely the right response but for the moment they are focusing on 20th century neo liberal solutions and our fear is that they could put climate, biodiversity and new economic models on the back burner as we prop up our existing fossil fuel dependent economy.

We remain confident at the Club of Rome that the human spirit will see us through this crisis. Prosperity for people and planet is possible only if we make bold decisions today so that future generations can inherit a better world from us.

We look forward to working with all of you to make our “emergence from emergency” mantra a reality.

Take good care, stay safe and profit from this time to be with those you love,


Sandrine Dixson-Declève & Mamphela Ramphele

Co-Presidents of the Club of Rome

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